Elementary, middle school, high school, college. They have something in common besides education. Backpacks.

Backpacks are convenient to carry books and supplies but worn incorrectly, they can cause back pain, neck pain, spine problems, and headaches. Keep these tips in mind when wearing a backpack to help minimize pain and injury.

Lessen the load to minimize stress on your spine and neck

Heavily loaded backpacks can cause spinal discs to compress as well as Forward Head Posture (FHP), a condition that increases stress in your neck muscles attached to the cervical spine. A 2017 study in the journal Applied Ergonomics shows that a child should carry no more than 10 to 15% of their body weight. Upper back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches are symptoms of an overloaded backpack.

Organize your backpack to balance the weight

When a backpack pulls away from your body, it causes unnecessary strain on joints and muscles. Consider putting the heavier items on the inside of the pack, closer to your back.

Use both straps to prevent bad posture

Wearing the backpack on one shoulder can create poor posture over time. It creates more tension and causes your body to work harder and overcompensate one side. This will lead to one-sided pain.

Consider a rolling backpack

Rolling backpacks give you the option to pull the backpack. This is helpful on days when you are carrying more than 15% of your weight in the backpack. Rolling backpacks gives your back a break and minimize pain and injury


Backpacks are necessary but can be harmful if worn and used incorrectly. If you or your child are experiencing back pain since you have started wearing it, call us for a free phone consultation or schedule an appointment.